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Farmers across the country are beginning to tie-up an early harvest. While rain continues to hold back some combines, many growers remain concerned the drought has affected crops.
Somerset farmer Richard Payne was finishing harvest today (August 7), nearly two weeks ahead of last year. “Harvest is pretty much finished here: We’ve had some good, some bad crops, but nothing will break the bank.”
Overall wheat yields were down on last year due to a lack of moisture. “The crops were dying rather than ripening.”
Harvest was also nearly over for Andrew Kerr in Essex. He said: “Harvest has been quite good because we got two inches of rain in June, which others didn’t really get.” Robigus winter wheat was the “star crop”, averaging 11t/ha.
Having only started cutting winter wheat this time last year, Dorset farmer Keith Harris had finished today. Average yields were 8.75t/ha over 100ha of wheat. “It would have been nice to have had a bit more but then we didn’t have any less so it’s not a bad result.”
Chris Vowles in Bristol had finished cutting his wheat and barley, with average yields of 7.5t/ha. Winter barley yielded 6.25t/ha, while Claire winter wheat yielded well over 7.5t/ha.
“It was a very low input harvest and was very easy with no drying. All we had to do was cool the crops.” Having finished on August 16 last year, he added: “We’ve been encouraged to grow a few extra acres next year.”
See FWi’s Harvest Highlights section for the regional reports in full and more from around the country, updated every day.